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EXPEDITION TO CADIZ.
to be at the head of a powerful army. He carried Venloo by storm on the 18th of September, when, as he writes to Nottingham, the secretary of state, “the English grenadiers had the honour of being the first that entered the fort." He besieged and took Ruremonde and Stevenswart. He captured Liège by storm on the 23rd of October, the English being the first that got upon the breach ; and in a few days afterwards the castle of the Chartreuse was surrendered to bim. In these operations he had the same aid that was so valuable to William-the scientific knowledge of Cohorn, the great rival of Vauban. Marlborough, at the close of the campaign, had an adventure, in which he was compared to Cæsar amongst the pirates. He was seized in a boat, as he was going down the Maese, by a body of French partisans, and after some detention escaped, after being plundered by those who did not know the value of the man they had intercepted. For a short time the Allies were in consternation. But Marlborough safely returned to London, to receive high honours and rewards. Whilst he was fighting at Liège, and only a few hours before the surrender of the place, he wrote a letter to Nottingham which shows how thoroughly he had his eye upon all the distant arrangements for carrying on a vigorous war: “ I had written a very long letter in answer to two of your lordship’s ; but yours of the 6th of October, which I received this morning, that brings the ill news of Cadiz, has made me burn my letter, most of it being my thoughts of what I wished might be done if we had been successful. I am sorry from my heart if it proves otherwise.” He was not one to be daunted by misfortune. He might have learnt the value of perseverance from the great example of the man who took Namur after he had been defeated at Landen. “ I hope ill success will not hinder you from advancing with sea and land officers, if this matter be capable of being retrieved." *
The ill success at Cadiz was the failure of an expedition which had been planned by king William. It was carried out with the usual results of divided counsels and separate commands. A large combined fleet of Dutch and English ships, with fourteen thousand troops of both nations on board, after many delays had reached the bay of Cadiz on the 18th of August. There was a commander of the fleet, sir George Rooke ; and there was a superior coma mander of the land and sea forces, the duke of Ormond. There was an English general and a Dutch general at the head of their respective contingents. Three days were spent in debate upon the plans to be pursued. The leaders were not only divided, sea
• “Dispatches," vol. i. p. 47.
against land, but land against land, and sea against sea.' They knew nothing of the localities where they proposed to disembark, and nothing of the force that might be brought against them. The marquis of Villadaria, the captain-general of Andalusia, was a man of energy and military skill. He had roused the population ; and when some troops had landed and marched to Port St. Mary's, an unwalled place—which safe course had been preferred to a descent upon the Isle of Leon, and a vigorous attack upon Cadiz—they found the old town deserted. There was, however, abundance of specie and other valuables there, to satisfy a rapacious soldiery, under very imperfect discipline. The prince of Darmstadt had joined the expedition, in the hope that the Andalusians would declare for the cause of the Austrian archduke, who claimed the title of king of Spain. The Spaniards were disgusted by the outrages of those who held out the hand of friendship to the people, but acted as brutal enemies. No serious attempt was made to accomplish some object worthy of such an armament. If the army remained longer on shore the probability was that they would have become wholly undisciplined, and have fallen sacrifices to the just revenge of the indignant population. The troops re-embarked in the middle of September. But there was a prize yet to be reached. The Spanish fleet, which yearly arrived from the Indies, laden with bul. lion and rich merchandise, finding Cadiz blockaded, had run into Vigo. It was against the monopoly of the Cadiz merchants that any other port should receive these annual treasures. The galleons could not land their cargoes until the tardy officials at Madrid had given permission. Ormond and Rooke had obtained information that there were richer trophies to be won than the honour of fighting for the stronghold of Cadiz. They made for Vigo, which, during their useless sojourn at Port St. Mary's, had been strengthened, and a boom thrown across the harbour. Two thousand men were landed. The galleons fled down the bay, and attempted to put some of their valuable cargo on shore. The English squadron pursued them; and then the Spaniards threw their wealth into the sea, and fired their ships. Six galleons were seized by the English, and seven French ships of war. The loss of life on the side of the Spaniards and French was terrific. The destruction of property was immense, exceeding eight million dollars. Much of the treasure taken was embezzled. " The public was not much enriched by this extraordinary capture, yet the loss our enemies made by it was a vast one." + + " Letter of Colonel Stanhope, quoted in Lord Mahon's “War of the Succession,"
7 Burnet, vol. V. p. 45.
The first Parliament of queen Anne met on the 20th of October. Harley was chosen Speaker. The royal speech contained no decided expression which could indicate what temper of the Houses would be most agreeable to the Court. It was well known that there would be a large Tory majority. It was now thought desirable by this majority to compliment the queen upon the progress of the war under the command of Marlborough, and to insult the memory of him whose firmness and perseverance had alone enabled England and Holland to hold in check the power of France. It was carried in the Commons by a majority of a hundred and eighty against eighty, that these words should be used in their Address to the queen: “The wonderful progress of your majesty's arms, under the conduct of the earl of Marlborough, have signally retrieved the ancient honour and glory of the English nation.” Those who proposed to substitute the word “maintained,” had to learn that the grave is no shelter from the violence of party-spirit. This was harmless malice. But there was something more than the gratification of the old hatred of a constitutional king, when the queen was told, in the same Address, that as she had always been an illustrious ornament to the Church, promise ourselves, that, in your reign, we shall see it perfectly restored to its due rights and privileges."
Under the Toleration Act of 1689, the Protestant Dissenters, a numerous and wealthy body, had been relieved “ from the penalties of certain laws," as the title of that Act expressed. Dissenting ministers might teach and preach, having subscribed some of the articles of the Church of England ; and their followers were free to frequent conventicles, having subscribed the Declaration against Popery, prescribed by the Statutes of Charles II. Complying with these requisitions, the officers of Corporations were open to the very influential class that differed in some points from the Established Church under various denominations. In 1697 a a violent excitement was produced in the city of London, by the Lord-mayor, sir Humphrey Edwin, attending a Meeting-House, with the trappings of his office-a circumstance which Swift had in mind when he told “how Jack's tatters came into fashion in court and city; how he got upon a great horse, and ate custard."* During the reign of William, the feud between the Church and Dissent was confined to the preachers and the pamphleteers. The State looked on without taking any part in the quarrel about Occasional Conformity, by which the Dissenters kept their share of
• Tale of a Tub." The Lord Mayor's great horse is of higher antiquity than the Lord Mayor': state coach.
civil power, without compromising, as most of them believed, their rights of conscience. But when Anne came to the throne, the High Church party were for extreme measures against the separatists; and one of the first proceedings of the Tory ministry in the new Parliament was to bring in a Bill to prevent Occasional Conformity. The spirit of the time of Charles II. was roused from its long sleep. Not only were holders of office to be subject to the Test Act, but also all electors for boroughs. To enter a Dissenting place of worship after having once taken the sacrament according to the rites of the Church, was to be punished with heavy fines, and with transportation upon a repetition of the offence. The Bill was quickly passed by large majorities of the Commons. In the House of Lords, where the majority of spiritual peers were distinguished for their moderation-where the learning of Somers and the eloquence of Halifax had their due weight-the factions of the Lower House were met with a firm and temperate resistance, although the Whigs were not strong enough to throw out the Bill. Amendments were introduced by the Peers, which the Commons indignantly rejected. Conferences then took place between the two Houses, in which the question was debated with great pertinacity on both sides; but in which the Lords manifested a regard for civil rights, a hatred of extreme penalties, and a respect for religious liberty, which ought to be borne in mind by those who are inclined to believe that the power in the state which does not directly represent the popular interest is necessarily indifferent to the welfare of the people. We may judge of the masterly reasoning upon which the Peers defended their amendments by the following passage: “ The Lords think an Englishman cannot be reduced to a more unhappy condition, than to be put by law under an incapacity to serve his prince and country; and therefore nothing but a crime of the most detestable nature ought to put him under such a disability: they who think the being present at a Meeting to be so high a crime, can hardly think that a toleration of such Meetings ought to continue long; and yet the Bill says, “ The Act of Toleration ought to be kept inviolate.'" **
The chief business of the Session was this great battle of principle. The lords insisted on adhering to their amendments. The Commons persisted in rejecting them. The Court made every effort to get the Bill passed in the Lords,-the prince of Denmark, though not of the Church of England, and being an occasional conformist himself, having voted for it as a peer of Parliament. But the
• " Parliamentary History," vol. vi. p. 71.
DEFOE'S SHORTEST WAY WITH THE DISSENTERS.
vote of adhering was carried in the Lords by a majority of one. The battle of the Press was as violent as that of the Parliament. The most remarkable production of the time was Defoe's “ The Shortest Way with the Dissenters.” It is seldom that irony can be sustained through many pages; but the power which this great writer possessed in his fictitious narratives, of giving a reality to imaginary events and persons, enabled him to adopt the tone of a violent high-churchman, and carry forward the declamation of the party into an extravagance which made the general argument odious and ridiculous. It was the most successful literary hoax ever perpetrated. Furious Churchmen applauded the pamphlet. Sensitive Dissenters were indignant at the terms in which they were denounced. Dull moderate men stood aghast at the monstrous cruelty and wickedness of these “ Proposals for the establishment of the Church,” which thus argued: “If the gallows instead of the compter, and the gallies instead of the fines, were the reward of going to a conventicle to preach or hear, there would not be so many sufferers ; the spirit of martyrdom is over; they that go to church to be chosen sheriffs and mayors would go to forty churches rather than be hanged.” When the hoax was discovered, the rage of the followers of Sacheverell and other haters of toleration was unbounded. A reward of Fifty Pounds was offered by proclama. tion for the apprehension of Daniel Defoe, “charged with writing a scandalous and seditious pamphlet entitled The Shortest Way with the Dissenters :"-"a middle aged spare man, about forty years old.” The House of Commons voted the little book to be burnt by the bangman. Defoe was indicted at the Old Bailey Sessions in February, 1703, and was brought to trial in July. He acknowledged himself to have written this piece of exquisite banter. To us who live in better times, which we owe as much to the Press as to the Parliament, it is inconceivable that all parties did not laugh at Defoe's wit. He was found guilty; and was sentenced to a fine, to stand three times in the Pillory, and to be imprisoned during the queen's pleasure. Defoe was pilloried, on three siccessive days, at the Royal Exchange, at the Conduit at Cheapside, and at Temple Bar. On the first day of this exhibition he published his “Hymn to the Pillory." His was the spirit that, in every age in England, has made oppression recoil upon the oppressor. The Hymn was read as its author stood before the crowd not ignominiously :
“Earless on high stood unabashed Defoe." Pope meant this for contempt. The more equal judgment of an other age receives it as praise, and reads “ fearless,” not "earless"